A patch of scrubland at the end of an airport runway in Hamburg has become home to thousands of bees.
The unlikely community is being used by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to measure and monitor pollution levels in and around air transport hubs.
Volkar Hase from Airbus explains: “Environmental aspects play a big role and these bees are a significant part in keeping track of our impact on the nature.”
The bees buzz around an area of some 12 square kilometres and collect pollen and nectar from all over the airport. This provides valuable scientific information on the levels and types of pollutants. The process called biomonitoring sees the honey produced by the bees tested at a nearby lab.
The research has thrown up some interesting results.
Eberhard Schaedlich is beekeeper on the project:“The results are very exciting and luckily, I say luckily, every single result shows that pollution levels are well under approved limits for food stuffs.”
Another advantage is the more than 160 kg of honey produced annually by the airport bees. It is potted and distributed to Airbus guests and staff, sticky, sweet and pollution free!